Association of Progressive Rental Organizations | America’s Champion for Rent-to-Own

Smitherman Celebrates Year One as APRO CEO

Dear APRO Members,

As I mark my one-year anniversary as the CEO of our incredible association, I want to express my deepest gratitude for entrusting me with this leadership position. It is an honor to serve the rent-to-own industry and to be part of this amazing group – so very committed to and passionate about RTO and the essential role we play for our customers and communities.

Over the past year, I have had the pleasure of working alongside extraordinary teams whose dedication, unique expertise and experience, and sheer hard work have been instrumental in what we’ve achieved and where we’re going. The APRO staff and Board of Directors’ devotion to excellence and unwavering support help fulfill and inspire me every day.

One of the most rewarding parts of my position has been connecting with so many of you through my travels and attendance at various industry events around the country. Every interaction reinforces my belief in the strength and vibrancy of our association. Your insights, input, and shared experiences are an invaluable resource for us, and greatly contribute to shaping our strategies and initiatives, especially as we develop APRO’s 2025-28 Strategic Plan.

I’m proud of the important progress we’ve made together over the past year, including the launch of several new and enhanced initiatives designed to provide greater member value. Our focus on rent-to-own advocacy has been particularly impactful, as we’ve worked to promote and protect your interests while ensuring our collective voice is heard loud and clear on issues crucial to our industry. Additionally, our concentration on education has led to the expansion of programs – such as our popular monthly webinars – designed to support professional growth throughout all levels of our membership, and to share with you with what you need to know to thrive in today’s business world.

I’m excited about the future of APRO. Our recently adopted new vision statement captures the essence of our collective aspirations: To be the rising tide that raises everyone in our industry. This vision reflects our commitment to fostering innovation, and facilitating the exchange of experiences and expertise among our members. By capitalizing on the unique strength of our relationship-driven industry, dedicated to supporting each other and working together, we can reach ever-greater heights and ensure the continued success of our industry. I encourage each of you to actively participate in APRO’s initiatives and take advantage of the many opportunities available to you through your membership – your engagement and contributions are crucial to our collective success!

Thank you once again for the trust you have placed in me and for your steadfast support over the past year. It’s a privilege to serve as your CEO, and I look forward to continuing our work together to advance our shared goals and your businesses.

With gratitude and best regards,

Charles W. Smitherman, J.D., Ph.D.

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